Bow legged

Specialty of Orthopaedic surgery

What is it?

Genu varum, which is commonly known as bow leggedness, is the term used for a postural deformity in which the knees are separated when the ankles are touching. This results in the knees bending outwards. It is very common in children aged between 1 and 2 years old, especially if they have started walking early. It normally spontaneously resolves when they are around 3 years old (physiological genu varum). If this doesn’t happen, if there is a degree of bowing, or if there is a bone disease, corrective surgery should be carried out lo regain alignment.  

What does surgery do?    

Treatment for genu varum aims to:   

  • Lengthen distended ligaments and the inner leg muscle.
  • Strengthen and build up the: gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, abductors, tensor fascia lata, femoral biceps, quadriceps external vastus, fibula, sural triceps, and the common toe extensor.  
  • Achieve adequate knee balance to reduce the menisci load.  
  • Achieve as much symmetry as possible.
  • Prevent potential pelvic problems.
  • Prevent spine deformities in the sagittal and frontal planes.
  • Increase standing resistance.  
  • Avoid other injuries.
  • Improve walking posture.

What does it involve?

Generally, the surgery performed to correct bow legs is an osteotomy. During this procedure, a bone is cut either to shorten or lengthen it, or to change its alingment entirely. Osteotomy is generally used to reshape the bones and it is a complex type of surgery. The surgeon makes a cut in the skin and uses wires to measure the bone, then take out or re-align the bone according to the desired length/position. In order to hold the bones in place, the surgeon may use tiny screws and a metal plate, which sometimes must stay in your body permanently, but sometimes can be removed after the bones have re-aligned.     

Post-treatment care

After the operation, you may be in a wheelchair for 3 to 4 weeks. After this, crutches will need to be used until you are able to walk unaided. You may need to stay in hospital for a few days so the specialist can monitor your progress. For patients over 35 years old, rehabilitation takes at least 4 months. If there aren’t any complications, when the mobility aids are no longer used, the patient should not physically exert themselves for about two months.   

loading...
We use cookies on this site to enhance your user experience. Click ‘Enter’ to continue browsing. Enter Cookies policy